Virtually everyone you ever want to do business with is on LinkedIn but how do you change a profile into a contact and a contact into a customer? These seven action steps will get you there faster than you imagine.
Forget random be strategic. Take some time and develop a list of the 100 companies that where you would like to do business. This is a big job. Mix up the list with some low hanging fruit – the relatively easy prospects that would be expected to want to do business with your company and then add in the medium and longer term goals. This will form your LinkedIn ‘pipeline’. Pipeline is the sales term for the flow of prospects into customers. I prefer to think of a fish farm. Imagine a small pond with 100 trout. Everyday you feed and nurture them. Some will grow faster and be next month’s dinner others will take longer. Over time you add more small fish and you end up with a life-time supply of fish dinners with the fully nurtured always ready for the plate.
Carefully follow your prospects. Follow their companies. Join their groups. Like their posts. Get noticed. When the time is right make a thoughtful invitation to connect. Don’t rush this! Give enough time that when you do invite them there is a reasonable chance that they know who you are.
Do not, I repeat do not contact them. The worst thing you can do is to thank them for accepting your invitation with a trite ‘if I can ever be of any assistance’ note! This screams desperation. Instead, continue to post intelligent and thoughtful, industry related content on your update stream. Like and thoughtfully comment on some of their posts. Do this for all of your 100 targets and don’t stop – ever!
Starting with the most probable prospects contact them with one of their updates. Something like, ‘John, really enjoyed your post on the problems of risk management. I have a question. Would you have five minutes for a quick call?’
Then you call and ask your thoughtful question. This is not the time to sell this is the time to begin to build rapport. Continue to like their posts, etc. We are going for subtle here not stalker!
Ask for a meeting – perhaps coffee or lunch to learn more about their business. Don’t push. The meeting is not an opportunity to sell it is an opportunity to build a relationship. Make the meeting about them but show yourself as intelligent, competent and interested.
Carefully look at their business and find an opportunity where you could help. Do your homework and understand the pain or an opportunity. Develop a strategy to pitch them in a compelling, value based way. Put some real thought into this and approach them from their perspective not yours!
Ask for a meeting to discuss how you feel you might help their business. Pitch them on your strategy to make a difference to their business. It may take time to close but keep building rapport and credibility.
Follow this process for your 100 targets and you will have a solid business that will grow and expand over time! Never stop feeding those fish!